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View Full Version : The appreciation we should all have for #86 Hines Ward


LayingTheWoodley56
12-05-2011, 09:39 AM
I will start semi-melodramatically: I got, not choked up, but a little emotional yesterday watching Hines Ward.

At 21 years old, I have been following the Black and Gold religiously since 2001. As we all know, Hines has been a Steeler since 1998, so I personally have never truly known our team without #86 throwing vicious crackbacks, going over the middle fearlessly, smelling the goal line and picking up huge third-down conversions all with that signature smile on his face. In a Hall of Fame career, he has done an excellent job carving out a niche for an undersized, pretty slow (for a wideout) player in this league.

It saddens me to see Hines as he is this season. There is obviously no shame in his eroding skills; the hard truth is that even the best athlete of all time will eventually lose it. The smile is not omnipresent, as it was once. This is not a signal of Hines moping around, though; I believe it is only because he wants very badly to get back to his old standard, and he is focused on contributing in any way he can. He is not smiling after every catch because he is pissed at himself for not being able to do more.

It would be easy for Hines to be bitter at his loss of playing time this season. That is not his way. He has said and done all the right things. He has been an admirable mentor to our trio of young recievers. You can see him encouraging, cajoling, prodding, clapping, screaming for them on the sidelines. And he is doing whatever he can to help, picking up a pair of first downs over the last two games.

It says something about the regard the organization has for him that they are making a concentrated effort to get him his milestones, through screens and dumpoffs designed for him that we have seen in KC and again yesterday. It was great to see the fans with the Hines Ward 12,000 sign in the stands, and the people with the Psycho Ward banner penciling in 12,000 yards on top of it. It says something about Steeler Nation that we aren't forgetting what this player has done for us even if he can't really do it anymore. After 5 catches yesterday, it is likely that he will reach the 1,000 catch milestone as well, hopefully at home on December 24th.

The reason I got a little upset yesterday was seeing Hines' face so serious coming back to the sidelines, almost giving off the air of a first or second-year bit player trying to stay out of the way. He deserves much, much more than that, and he is lucky to be part of an organization that appreciates him, and a fanbase that has a very long memory of who has done what for us.

When I think of Hines Ward, I will think of him flat out breaking 250-pound linebacker Keith Rivers jaw. I will think of all of his big red zone moments in the postseason, against the Jets in 04, vs. the Broncos in 05, the touchdown at the end of the half against the Packers last year. Most of all, I will see him leaping a mile high into the end zone against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, eschewing a flashy, orchestrated celebration in favor of pure joy and excitement. And I will always see him taking a huge hit, hanging on to the ball for a first down and popping up with that endearing, genuine smile lighting up his face. I get chills writing that sentence, thinking about my favorite Steeler of all time.

We don't know how many more times we will see that. This does feel like it will most likely be Hines' last year. I doubt he will stick around if he feels he can no longer contribute, just to hang on for one season longer. On a day when his stoic face saddened me yesterday, however, his smile also put one onto mine, when they called that 15-yard penalty after one of his catches and his face split into yet another huge grin.

In 05, we sent the Bus off in storybook fashion. Now let's do it again this year for another Steeler legend who deserves to ride off into the sun with a third Lombardi at the end of a truly special career. :tt04:

stlrtruck
12-05-2011, 10:01 AM
Hines Ward is the true definition of Steelers football. Beat you senseless and smile at you while doing it!

Hines is one of my favorites of all times, and like you, yesterday there was some emotion watching him in the game.

I try to prepare myself for his retirement, but something inside of me just won't let it happen.

steelfury02
12-05-2011, 10:07 AM
Let me just say in a semi melodramatic fashion, that your blurb was a great trip down memory lane and gave me some chills of what yet may come to be for Ward and this team as a whole.

Hines Ward has been the best Steelers receiver ever, the best blocking receiver in the history of the nfl, and the most complete receiver of all time (and by that I mean understanding routes, blocking assignments, execution, clutch catching ((and in huge games)) and leadership skills).

Add the fact that he has played 3/4 of his career on run-oriented teams, 2 rings, and 1 SB MVP, along with Steelers records, and to me, he is much more of a shoe in than Jerome Bettis ever would be.

Since 1998 Steelers receivers have come and gone but Hines Ward has been the constant, guiding light to the shiny new toy the Steelers are only able to maintain for a little while. Burress, Holmes are probably the most notable receivers to wear the black and gold, only to yap their way out of town and they should at least partially thank Hines Ward for their successes.

In closing, When #86 retires, a void will be left in the Steelers receiving corp and we would only be so lucky to have a receiver who plays with half the passion, determination, and playful youthfulness as Ward.

Rick5895
12-05-2011, 10:36 AM
I will miss Hines when he is gone, and I still look forward to him contributing this season...even in a smaller role.

OX1947
12-05-2011, 11:50 AM
10 more catches and a Super Bowl victory to send him off into the sunset. Boy, that would a nice way to go out. I hope it happens.

caplovestroyp43
12-05-2011, 12:43 PM
I will start semi-melodramatically: I got, not choked up, but a little emotional yesterday watching Hines Ward.

At 21 years old, I have been following the Black and Gold religiously since 2001. As we all know, Hines has been a Steeler since 1998, so I personally have never truly known our team without #86 throwing vicious crackbacks, going over the middle fearlessly, smelling the goal line and picking up huge third-down conversions all with that signature smile on his face. In a Hall of Fame career, he has done an excellent job carving out a niche for an undersized, pretty slow (for a wideout) player in this league.

It saddens me to see Hines as he is this season. There is obviously no shame in his eroding skills; the hard truth is that even the best athlete of all time will eventually lose it. The smile is not omnipresent, as it was once. This is not a signal of Hines moping around, though; I believe it is only because he wants very badly to get back to his old standard, and he is focused on contributing in any way he can. He is not smiling after every catch because he is pissed at himself for not being able to do more.

It would be easy for Hines to be bitter at his loss of playing time this season. That is not his way. He has said and done all the right things. He has been an admirable mentor to our trio of young recievers. You can see him encouraging, cajoling, prodding, clapping, screaming for them on the sidelines. And he is doing whatever he can to help, picking up a pair of first downs over the last two games.

It says something about the regard the organization has for him that they are making a concentrated effort to get him his milestones, through screens and dumpoffs designed for him that we have seen in KC and again yesterday. It was great to see the fans with the Hines Ward 12,000 sign in the stands, and the people with the Psycho Ward banner penciling in 12,000 yards on top of it. It says something about Steeler Nation that we aren't forgetting what this player has done for us even if he can't really do it anymore. After 5 catches yesterday, it is likely that he will reach the 1,000 catch milestone as well, hopefully at home on December 24th.

The reason I got a little upset yesterday was seeing Hines' face so serious coming back to the sidelines, almost giving off the air of a first or second-year bit player trying to stay out of the way. He deserves much, much more than that, and he is lucky to be part of an organization that appreciates him, and a fanbase that has a very long memory of who has done what for us.

When I think of Hines Ward, I will think of him flat out breaking 250-pound linebacker Keith Rivers jaw. I will think of all of his big red zone moments in the postseason, against the Jets in 04, vs. the Broncos in 05, the touchdown at the end of the half against the Packers last year. Most of all, I will see him leaping a mile high into the end zone against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, eschewing a flashy, orchestrated celebration in favor of pure joy and excitement. And I will always see him taking a huge hit, hanging on to the ball for a first down and popping up with that endearing, genuine smile lighting up his face. I get chills writing that sentence, thinking about my favorite Steeler of all time.

We don't know how many more times we will see that. This does feel like it will most likely be Hines' last year. I doubt he will stick around if he feels he can no longer contribute, just to hang on for one season longer. On a day when his stoic face saddened me yesterday, however, his smile also put one onto mine, when they called that 15-yard penalty after one of his catches and his face split into yet another huge grin.

In 05, we sent the Bus off in storybook fashion. Now let's do it again this year for another Steeler legend who deserves to ride off into the sun with a third Lombardi at the end of a truly special career. :tt04:

Truly beautiful. Hines is one of my all time favorite players, competing with my Troy for the top spot.

It will be ever so sad to see him retire but what he is doing now, mentoring the young recievers is so Hines. They are learning from a true master of the field. He's a great guy and great player.

And one that this lifetime Steeler fan will always love and appreciate for all he's done.

:tt02:

BengalDestroyer
12-05-2011, 02:51 PM
:crying01:I'll sure miss Ward too...HELL OF A PLAYER...

SteelerNan
12-05-2011, 04:56 PM
I have been an avid fan of Hines for many years, and these past few months have been heart wretching, watching Hines stand on the sideline, his famous smile no where to be found, being put in the game so little you could blink and miss it. I have been very angry about how Hines has been treated, and so have many other fans. Yesterday was magic, watching him get that 12,000 yards he needed, my heart was pumping, I was almost in tears I was so happy he finally got it. He should have been able to reach those yards several games ago had he been put in the game like he should have been. Yes, he's older and doesn't quite have the moves he used to, but he still can cause much damage on the field, and perhaps so many plays wouldn't have been left in the redzone had he been in there. Young Money hopefuly appreciates what a master teacher they have, they are learning from the best there is. I admire Hines not only for his work on the field, but his work with less fortunate children, and his drive to do everything the best he can. He brought a smile back to our faces winning the Mirror Ball after the heartbreak loss in the Super Bowl. You touched on something I've been saying...the team needs to get to and win the Super Bowl for Hines, just like Hines wanted it so much for The Bus. He deserves it, he's earned it. My Facebook page (www.facebook.com/we.support.hines.ward) was crazy happy yesterday, everyone celebrating Hines reaching one record, but he still has one more to obtain this year...only 10 more receptions to reach 1,000. I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Hines and he is honestly as nice as he seems, always ready with his smile. I'll treasure my 86 jersey forever, just like the memories of Hines Ward doing what he does best...play football.

Busforever
12-05-2011, 05:33 PM
I suppose he would be welcome by the organization if he wanted to be the WR coach. It could be great

skinart82
12-05-2011, 06:43 PM
He will no doubt be a WR coach in Pittsburgh at some point! And who knows, he might wind up an OC or more here one day!!!!

ETL
12-05-2011, 10:19 PM
He had a big smile yesterday when he goaded the Bengal defender into committing a personal foul.

Classic Hines.

Fire Arians
12-05-2011, 10:21 PM
i havent seen hines smile much this year until yesterday, it's a good sign haha

4xSBChamps
12-05-2011, 10:43 PM
in this era of prima-donna, bling/bling, throw-me-the-damned-ball self-centered wide-receiver, future generations of football fans (forget Steeler fans, I'm talking FOOTBALL fans) will never again see a wide-out who is simply content to block 60% of his career, and to earn his playing-time by doing-so

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y272/Glensgages/football/HinesWardblocksforWillieParker2008.jpg

lotta players today talk about 'being old-skool', but for the most-part, it's just gums that like to hear themselves, flapping in the wind:
we've been lucky-enough to see it the past dozen+ seasons

TAmes
12-05-2011, 11:07 PM
Thanks for a wonderful post. Just as a previous poster mentioned, your memories sent chills down my spine. I love how Hines played with a chip on his shoulder his entire career -- he was always being told that he was too slow, not tall enough, not quick enough. He channeled these criticisms into making himself one of the best wide receivers of his generation.

One of my favorite memories of Hines is his knocking a Bengals player out cold after that player had called him a racist name earlier in the game. There's an awesome photo (that someone on this board uses as his avatar) of Hines crouched over this player as he's lying on the ground seeing stars. Hines took a lot of the negatives in his life -- coming from a broken family, being taunted for his ethnicity, bring criticized for his football skills -- and made himself great. I consider myself fortunate to have watched Hines play. He will always be my favorite Steeler.

IowaSteeler927
12-06-2011, 06:39 AM
I hope we can send him out with Lombardi #7. I want to hear the fans of whatever team we would be beating in the Super Bowl cry that the NFL staged the Super Bowl just for Hines like they did when we beat the Seachickens and they were whining that it was staged just for Jerome Bettis.

On another note. It has been an honor to watch #86 through the years. By and far my favorite Steeler. I think he's got a special place in the heart of Steeler Nation.

LayingTheWoodley56
12-06-2011, 09:42 AM
Thank you guys for the compliments. I'm glad everyone is enjoying it and also agrees because there are a lot of fans out there who are all about "now now now", i.e. Hines isn't playing very well right now so at least for the moment the past 13 seasons don't matter. Fortunately, as a whole Steeler Nation is better and more appreciative than that.

stb_steeler
12-06-2011, 11:04 AM
Whats not to like about Hines
http://i527.photobucket.com/albums/cc358/chuck3_20/hines.jpg

Fire Arians
12-06-2011, 11:31 AM
Whats not to like about Hines
http://i527.photobucket.com/albums/cc358/chuck3_20/hines.jpg

:thumbsup:

Steel Peon
12-06-2011, 02:15 PM
I still think he has another season in him, but making this one big for him is fully possible.

BengalDestroyer
12-06-2011, 02:38 PM
He will no doubt be a WR coach in Pittsburgh at some point! And who knows, he might wind up an OC or more here one day!!!!

I pray that he does become a WR coach for us. That, is what I feel he should do...But he wants to go into broadcasting (lame) so we'll see what happens...

madtowndrunkard
12-06-2011, 02:40 PM
I don't think Hines is done yet. His decline is WAY over blown.

He's the same WR we've had for the last few years. He's losing playing time because of the speed and big play ability of Brown. Arians has no use for the pound it out type...hes all about hitting HR's. That fact is in everything Arians does... it is the very reason Ben gets sacked so much. Arians runs deep routes when you only need 5-10 yards. While most don't like it, it is what Arians is.... a high risk / high reward OC.

Now that Brown is learning the offense Arians wants his big play ability on the field. I can understand that.... but at the same time I think it's foolish to not take advantage of Hines Ward. Move him to the slot and use him. There isn't a better blocking WR on the team....so while Hines lack of speed might prohibit him from making many big plays...his blocks might very well spring a big play for someone else.

I certainly hope they do not run him off this season. He's definitely got another year in him if he wants it. Hines is steeler football. I'm sure to Arians he signifies the last of Bill Cowher's influence on this team...so it would not shock me to see Hines asked to retire after this season.

stiller39
12-06-2011, 06:48 PM
I hold Hines in the same light as the Great one... Roberto Clemente. Complete wide receiver who does it all.

harts
12-07-2011, 07:53 PM
I have been saying he should have retired last year.

Yall dont care about these guys ... most NFL players are interchangeable parts in the eyes of the fan

ask Rashard Mendenhall he will tell you:coffee:

Hines was slowing down big time last year anyways

Troy better start making "business decisions" when he throws his body around because it doesnt look like his brain can take much more punishment

LayingTheWoodley56
12-08-2011, 08:28 AM
I have been saying he should have retired last year.

Yall dont care about these guys ... most NFL players are interchangeable parts in the eyes of the fan

ask Rashard Mendenhall he will tell you:coffee:

Hines was slowing down big time last year anyways

Troy better start making "business decisions" when he throws his body around because it doesnt look like his brain can take much more punishment

Dead wrong, cynical and not something we need on this message board.

I agree that while teams that are constantly switching their players in and out do lose some connection between fans and players (a la Jets), the Steelers have maintained virtually the same core for years and years.

I don't care about James Farrior, the heart and soul of our defense since 2002? I don't care about Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton who have been our front three for as long as I can remember? I don't care about Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark, who have been patrolling our defensive backfield for 9 and 6 years, respectively? I don't care about our quarterback since 2004, or Troy Polamalu, whose lack of regard for, as you put it, "business decisions" is the entire style his play is predicated on and has made him a playmaker for this defense in addition to being a great person since he was drafted? And you can read the top of this thread, which I doubt you did before you spewed your negative views, to know how I feel about Hines Ward.

I also don't feel like these players are apathetic to the fans. You saw Troy pointing into the stands when he had the big pick in the 2008 AFCCG. That same game, James Farrior came out waving a Terrible Towel, as many players have of course done over the years. The Terrible Towel is the flag of Steeler Nation, which is comprised of FANS. The players wave that towel along with us to show that connection. We are not an ordinary fan base, we are extraordinary, as is our organization and the guys who have been here for years appreciate what we do.

These guys are not laundry to me. I have an emotional attachment to many of them, and if this is how you feel you probably shouldn't be a fan of this team at all if you couldn't care less about the guys who play for us. We don't need your kind.

LayingTheWoodley56
12-08-2011, 08:36 AM
Look at the reaction to the injury and impending retirement to a guy like Chris Hoke, who has been a BACK UP nose tackle for his entire career. If we didn't really care about these guys, why is his retirement recieve a sad reaction?

caplovestroyp43
12-08-2011, 11:55 AM
Dead wrong, cynical and not something we need on this message board.

I agree that while teams that are constantly switching their players in and out do lose some connection between fans and players (a la Jets), the Steelers have maintained virtually the same core for years and years.

I don't care about James Farrior, the heart and soul of our defense since 2002? I don't care about Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton who have been our front three for as long as I can remember? I don't care about Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark, who have been patrolling our defensive backfield for 9 and 6 years, respectively? I don't care about our quarterback since 2004, or Troy Polamalu, whose lack of regard for, as you put it, "business decisions" is the entire style his play is predicated on and has made him a playmaker for this defense in addition to being a great person since he was drafted? And you can read the top of this thread, which I doubt you did before you spewed your negative views, to know how I feel about Hines Ward.

I also don't feel like these players are apathetic to the fans. You saw Troy pointing into the stands when he had the big pick in the 2008 AFCCG. That same game, James Farrior came out waving a Terrible Towel, as many players have of course done over the years. The Terrible Towel is the flag of Steeler Nation, which is comprised of FANS. The players wave that towel along with us to show that connection. We are not an ordinary fan base, we are extraordinary, as is our organization and the guys who have been here for years appreciate what we do.

These guys are not laundry to me. I have an emotional attachment to many of them, and if this is how you feel you probably shouldn't be a fan of this team at all if you couldn't care less about the guys who play for us. We don't need your kind.

AMEN brother you tell'em!:tt02::tt02::tt02:

kirklandrules
12-08-2011, 01:24 PM
I have been saying he should have retired last year.

Yall dont care about these guys ... most NFL players are interchangeable parts in the eyes of the fan

ask Rashard Mendenhall he will tell you:coffee:

Hines was slowing down big time last year anyways
Troy better start making "business decisions" when he throws his body around because it doesnt look like his brain can take much more punishment

The critics have said he lacks speed since he came out of college. So you can't have it both ways. Either he was fast or he hasn't lost speed.Although he does not have Brown or Wallace speed, he makes the right reads, blocks well, not afraid to catch in traffic, and is clutch during crunch time.

Having said that, I believe his time is just about up. He abused his body in a position that isn't attributed to physical play and the game is getting faster.

SoCalFan
12-08-2011, 02:59 PM
Dead wrong, cynical and not something we need on this message board.

I agree that while teams that are constantly switching their players in and out do lose some connection between fans and players (a la Jets), the Steelers have maintained virtually the same core for years and years.

I don't care about James Farrior, the heart and soul of our defense since 2002? I don't care about Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton who have been our front three for as long as I can remember? I don't care about Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark, who have been patrolling our defensive backfield for 9 and 6 years, respectively? I don't care about our quarterback since 2004, or Troy Polamalu, whose lack of regard for, as you put it, "business decisions" is the entire style his play is predicated on and has made him a playmaker for this defense in addition to being a great person since he was drafted? And you can read the top of this thread, which I doubt you did before you spewed your negative views, to know how I feel about Hines Ward.

I also don't feel like these players are apathetic to the fans. You saw Troy pointing into the stands when he had the big pick in the 2008 AFCCG. That same game, James Farrior came out waving a Terrible Towel, as many players have of course done over the years. The Terrible Towel is the flag of Steeler Nation, which is comprised of FANS. The players wave that towel along with us to show that connection. We are not an ordinary fan base, we are extraordinary, as is our organization and the guys who have been here for years appreciate what we do.

These guys are not laundry to me. I have an emotional attachment to many of them, and if this is how you feel you probably shouldn't be a fan of this team at all if you couldn't care less about the guys who play for us. We don't need your kind.

Man i couldnt have said it better myself, nice work!!! This Steeler nation is based on tradition and loyalty starting from the owner down to the fans, and the players in the league know that this is a special place to play! Mr. Ward has shown passion, heart and an absolute drive for this organization as a whole! Leave him alone, he will retire when he feels best for him and the team!!!